Where Things Come From

This is where some of the items I use everyday come from and where they are going.

  • My bed frame was made by my dad and uncle more than a decade ago for my older brother. They got the wood from a local hardware store, like OSH or Lowe’s, and that wood probably came from California or another part of the Northwest, as there are a lot of trees in California and the Pacific Northwest. As for where it is going, the bed frame will likely be recycled once it is too old to serve its purpose. Since there’s varnish on it, it’ll have to stripped before it can be reused or recycled into something new. If it’s old enough, it could also be composted.
  • As I made my quilt and pillowcases myself, they came from fabric that came from a manufacturing process that combined a lot of different items. The fabric was dyed, which requires water and a lot of chemicals, and fabric itself is made out of synthetic fibers that are usually man-made. The process of making fabric, if commercially done, requires a lot of energy and probably produces some environmental waste. My quilt might go to charity once I’m done with it, but if it’s too worn down, it’ll likely be thrown in the trash and then a landfill, which isn't great.
  • As for more natural things, the eggs I eat for breakfast everyday come from California farms, and their shells sometimes go in the compost if I remember to put them there, which continues using them for something productive instead of sending them to a landfill where they will benefit no one.
  • The water I drink come from California reservoirs, and some of the water my brother in San Diego drinks comes from as far as the Colorado River. This water goes through a filtration system before it arrives in my tap, and once it passes through my body, it goes through the toilet to the sewage system, where it is filtered before it reaches the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.      

Autobiography of My Relationship to the Earth: Part 2

This song, "Whose Garden Was This?" sung by John Denver, has deeply affected how I think about the earth. I found it just last year while searching for an environmental song to be the backing track to a PSA about various types of pollution for ECJ California, and though it was too long to be the track, I was really affected by the visuals that the lyrics imply and the desperation and longing in Denver's voice. The singer wants to feel a breeze and see a blue river, indicating that the earth has been so degraded that all that's left of nature are the memories of it. The refrain of the song is "Tell me again/I need to know" because the only way that he knows about nature is through the stories. He has never experienced them firsthand. While we hear a lot about keeping the earth healthy so that future generations don't have to live in a wasteland, it was still just a theoretical concept to me before I heard this song. The movie WALL-E, for example, is about the same type of situation, with humans losing touch with earth, but Denver's voice is so passionate about the things that have been lost that I was much more affected by it than by the movie. I don't want to cause that type of pain to anyone, even people not born yet, and though it may be about an extreme situation that people can dismiss as unrealistic, the song is still very convincing in the depiction of that situation. Perhaps the difference in my reaction is the fact that the singer wants so badly to see all the things that have been lost, while the people in WALL-E don't even know about the earth that they left behind. For many reasons, "Whose Garden Was This?" really made realize how awful and irreversible destroying the environment, however unintentionally, would be, and how we have to work to keep that from happening.  

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